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Time Machine Stuck On Cleaning Up

Time Machine Stuck On Cleaning Up

Did your time machine stick during cleaning up? Push your worries! Here you’ll find how to fix this problem.

Using your Mac’s built-in Time Machine program, you’ll be able to back up your whole computer to an external device. But sometimes, when you want to clean up, your time machine might be stuck, which can be aggravating and frustrating.

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Cleaning the time machine might take a long time on machines with many programs, files, or other data. If the Time Machine progress indicator hasn’t shown any progress for more than 30 minutes, then your time machine is most probably stuck.

What causes your Time Machine to become stuck on cleaning up? What can you do to prevent this, and what can you do if it does happen? 

Is your Time Machine Stuck On Cleaning Up? Let’s figure out how to unstuck time machine backup.

Why is Time Machine backup stuck?

Your Time Machine may be stuck on cleaning up for several reasons.

  • Files are too big.
  • A corrupted or out-of-date backup disc
  • You need to update your Mac’s OS.
  • With the recent installation of new software,
  • Malware on your Mac or your external hard drive
  • There was a break in the last Time Machine cleanup.
  • Applications attempting to access your external hard drive (e.g., an antivirus)
  • When using Time Machine to clean up over a network, ensure your Wi-Fi isn’t flaky or otherwise interfering with the backup process.

What can you do to prevent the time machine stuck on cleaning up

Fortunately, there may be a way to fix this problem.

  • In many cases, “Safe mode” and “Normal mode” may address problems by resetting some data.
  • “Disk Utility” may take a long time to fix the external disc.
  • Try to update the drive’s firmware if you can.
  • Partition your external drive into two distinct drives if you have the capacity. (This may take a day or two.) setup Time Machine to use the newly created partition. 
  • A complete “First” backup is required; however, in my experience, a 300GB initial save was still quicker than the previous drive’s 4GB incremental backup.
  • The only other option is to format the drive and start over or purchase a second drive and utilize it in parallel.


What is Time Machine doing when it says cleaning up? 

The “clean up phase” of Time Machine consists of “house cleaning,” such as deleting old/expired backups (such as those from the last X number of days) and removing older backups if space is limited.

How long should it take to delete a Time Machine backup?

It’s up to you whether or not you did the right thing. If you backed up two hard discs, you did precisely what you should have done. There will only be one hard disc left once Time Machine has archived all of the different versions. To ensure that no harm is done if the Time Machine loses power in the middle of this operation, it takes a bit longer.

The Time Machine backup disc may have been deleted completely if you had only backed up one hard drive and intended to wipe it out.

So the “Delete all backups of “name of disk” took roughly 7 hours and 25 minutes to complete. Though it was a lot of work, it was all worth it!

How do I wipe Time Machine entirely? 

Using AirPort Utility, you can wipe the disk on an AirPort Time Capsule.

  • You can find the AirPort Utility software in the Applications/Utility subfolder of your Mac’s home directory.
  • Once you’ve selected the Time Capsule, you wish to delete, click Edit to begin the process. The Time Capsule may require a password to be entered.
  • Go to Drives, then select Erase Disk to delete all data from it.
  • A security level may be selected by clicking the Security Method pop-up menu and then clicking Erase.
  • To keep your changes, click Update.

How do I check the progress of Time Machine backup?

As of this writing, the only way to check what Time Machine is presently doing is to open up the Time Machine System Preferences panel, where you’ll be able to see a progress bar displaying how much work is still to be done.

In closing

As we knew why time machine stuck on cleaning up and concluded that cleaning up can get stuck at many times. Even so, that doesn’t imply that you’re out of luck. Try upgrading your Mac software, lowering the size of your backup by removing large or extra files, screening for malware, and rechecking your network connection if you are backing up through Wi-Fi, omitting your backup volume from Spotlight search, as well as antiviruses and other applications.

This Article is Updated.

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Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.